Tag Archives: transportation

Spirit Trumpets…

The vintage find that started my quest today!

The vintage find that started my quest today!

I had a very pleasant and interesting day today. The neighbors invited Joe and I out for an afternoon of antiquing. It’s an activity we’ve only recently learned to love. We accepted the invitation, grabbed some lunch, and set off for our first store. In a booth in the very back, something caught my eye instantly. It looked to be some kind of séance or spirit trumpet. A “spirit trumpet” was often used in the early days of séance and was meant for spirits to use for amplifying their voice. A spirit trumpet? In the middle of Missouri? We’re pretty far from Lily Dale (a place I would LOVE to visit one day)! What are the chances? I took a picture of it at the antique mall, and once we returned home I was on a quest to find more information on spirit trumpets and hopefully verify if it was one or not.

Spirit trumpets have changed over the years, and you can actually still buy a manufactured trumpet. Most of them are built in sections and collapse. The item I found did not collapse. It was soldered. See the photos for examples of spirit trumpets. 

Back to my quest. Someone suggested to me that it might be an “ear trumpet“, which I believe was used as an early form of hearing aid. This seemed to be a reasonable guess… but the one I found was so tall, and I couldn’t imagine jamming the end of this thing into my ear! Most of the photos of ear trumpets curved at the ear piece. 

Modern spirit trumpets, courtesy of www.skeptiseum.org.

Modern spirit trumpets, courtesy of www.skeptiseum.org.

Then I remembered that I follow Ron Nagy on Twitter. Ron is an author and expert on all things Lily Dale and spiritualism. I contacted him and he told me it looked to be one of the oldest river driver sound horns he’d ever seen. He also said that these horns were used as the first spirit trumpets before they began making them for the purposes of  séance. Cool! I googled several things but ended up finding an almost identical horn, apparently a “boat fog horn” online (see last photo below). A few of the fog horns even had the same little metal hoop where a chain would have been attached. 

Antique spirit trumpet, courtesy of www.skeptiseum.org.

Antique spirit trumpet, courtesy of www.skeptiseum.org.

I wish I knew if this fog horn had been used for spiritualist purposes. I suspect it probably never was, but I’m still considering going back on Monday to get it before it’s gone! 🙂 The quest to figure it all out was actually very fun and interesting! 

This is a "boat fog horn" that I found on e-bay. Pretty close, wouldn't you say? My antique find does not have the reed or mouth piece on top.

This is a “boat fog horn” that I found on ebay. Pretty close, wouldn’t you say? My antique find does not have the reed or mouth piece on top.

Related Posts:

Old School Locker (Big Séance)

Highlights from our 9/15/12 Séance (Big Séance)


Route 66: Bourbon Hotel and John’s Modern Cabins…

Yesterday I went on a mini road trip with my buddy Matt. We left O’Fallon, Missouri and headed for St. James, Missouri to spend some time with a dear friend. Since I am not from the St. Louis area, I can always count on Matt, who is a history buff, to introduce me to fascinating historical information. In this case, I learned that I knew very little about the historic Route 66. I figured Matt (who is always the navigator and tour guide) would lead me on some great site seeing adventures. We’re definitely two different kinds of nerds, but a big chunk of our nerdiness overlaps a bit. If it weren’t for the horrible sleety/icy weather, this post would probably have been quite a bit larger. (But since I forgot my “play clothes”, that’s probably a good thing.) The trip made me want to take the entire Route 66 tour someday (well… almost).  


The Bourbon Hotel (Bourbon, Missouri)

If you know me, you know that I think this building is beautiful and fascinating. It has so much character, and I’m here to tell you that when you’re on the porch walking by the windows, you can just feel that someone is keeping an eye on you! It was sleeting and raining on us in these shots, with a dash of lightning and thunder. 


The Bourbon Hotel actually faces railroad tracks.

The Bourbon Hotel dates back to the 1890s and actually faces railroad tracks.


The back of the Bourbon Hotel. (This is the Route 66 view.)

The back of the Bourbon Hotel. (This is the Route 66 view.)


Check out that amazing Mansard Roof! (Totally just learned that term, by the way.)

Check out that amazing Mansard Roof! (Totally just learned that term, by the way.)


I dare you to walk past those front windows. (Matt off in the distance.)


For more info on the Bourbon Hotel, click HERE.



John’s Modern Cabins (Newburg, Missouri)

This place has a fascinating and strange history. Clearly, this landmark is in pretty bad shape. From what I hear, it has really gotten worse in just the last couple of years.


From this great shot, taken by Matt, you can really see just how close to the road this place really was.

From this great shot, taken by Matt, you can really see just how close to the road this place really was.



It’s at this point (right in front of the cabins) that old Route 66 disappears for a while…


Love the outhouse.

Love the outhouse.




For more information on John’s Modern Cabins, click HERE


For more information on Ghosts and Hauntings on Route 66 in Missouri, I encourage you to check out the following book:
























A Haunting Trip Down San Francisco Market Street… then and now…


I’ve never been to San Francisco, but I’ve often wanted to visit because it looks so beautiful, plus I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Armistead Maupin and his Tales of the City series of books that take place there.

But… have you seen this video?

I’ve gotten trapped into watching this whole thing many times in the last few years after I found it initially. It is a trip down Market Street. It was apparently originally thought to have been filmed in 1905, but was really filmed  four days before the big San Francisco earthquake in 1906.

It isn’t paranormal at all, but it is so haunting to watch for several reasons. First off, who isn’t impressed with footage from 1906? You can learn so much about history just from the video. For instance, these people were reckless and not afraid of getting run over or trampled by a horse! Apparently there weren’t any traffic laws. I am fascinated by the children chasing the cars down the street or running ahead of the camera. I wonder how many kids in 1906 would have even been able to identify a video camera and knew what it was? The heavy coats and dresses are interesting to me, considering it was filmed on April 14th (my birthday… it’s a stretch… but it’s another thing that makes it haunting). Also, maybe it’s just me… but it is strange to see a video from so long ago that shows people strolling, walking, and strutting just like we do today! You mean people didn’t walk differently 100 years ago? 🙂 I wonder if these people imagined we’d be watching and learning from them over 100 years later?

Secondly, imagining the destruction and lost life that happened just four days after the hustle and bustle of a normal day in San Francisco is truly haunting. According to USGS, it is estimated that 3,000 lives were lost and 28,000 buildings were destroyed.



I’m not sure if the same people who filmed the above video filmed the footage after the destruction, but it seems genius that it is filmed in the same manner. Both videos have been paired next to each other so that you can compare.



And lastly, a trip down the same street in 2005. The same hustle and bustle… only different. To me, the neatest things about this version are the cyclists and passersby that seem fascinated with the filming, just like in the original footage. And even cooler, it finishes off with the same historical building at the end of the street that apparently survived. I don’t know enough about San Francisco to tell you anything else about it… but it’s cool.

Will people watch and learn from us in 100 years?




%d bloggers like this: